Do you want to talk about the Olympian ideal?

I’ve been watching the Olympics for the last few days.  I like the Olympics all right, especially the swimming and track & field events, and I have a special interest in rowing because my uncle won a gold medal in the men’s eight during the 1948 Olympics. 

The USA men's eight rowing team plus coxswain (my uncle is fourth from the right)

While I was watching, I started thinking about an intellectual equivalent to the Olympics, specifically one related to books.  I don’t know if there is anything like that.  Sure, they give prizes to people for writing books, but we don’t see them competing against each other in any immediate way, sitting at tables all in a row, furiously scribbling or tapping away at keyboards.  And what about all the other book-related activities out there in the world?  What about proofreading and editing and reviewing and stocking shelves and remaindering?  What about quoting favorite passages?  What about naming all the Newbery award-winning authors in order of the year they won?  Why can’t we reward people who excel in those activities?  I haven’t really worked it all out in my mind, but I think some of the sports could be:

Equestrian:  Contestants name all the books by Marguerite Henry as fast as they can.

Selling:  Contestants vie to sell the greatest number of books that are neither romance nor mystery novels to someone planning a beach vacation.

Wading (instead of Swimming):  Contestants wade through horridly written stuff.  Imagine the thrill of watching them flip through page after page of tripe!  However, since most of the horridly written stuff goes right to e-publication, I don’t know how interesting it would be to watch someone holding a Nook or a Kindle and flicking their finger once in a while.  This event needs some development, that’s for sure.  At any rate, it could be followed immediately by:

Recycling:  Upon finishing the Wading competition, contestants run the manuscripts of horridly written stuff through shredders and then take it all to the nearest recycling center.

Double skulls: Paired contestants engage in tandem recitations of the gravedigger scene from Hamlet.

Other possible events could include paperweight lifting, fountain pentathlon, and shooting.  

And I’d really like to see a contest where someone quotes a line from a novel or story and then their partner has to provide the correct following line.

What is your own opinion?


Adrien said...

- Name all of the Shakespeare plays as fast as you can (I have no idea what this would be called)
- I was thinking of more but then I realized that I was just pulling ideas from Sporcle, which is a source of endless entertainment and trivia. I have learned so many things and I think everybody should play quizzes on that site. Haha.

Shannon said...

Okay, this seriously cracked me up. And then I was laughing and Sam's mom asked me to share so I read it to her and she thought it was funny too. So there's that.
As far as other events, there should be a library book return (ooh! using the fancy book return at the Fallbrook library) or something.
I don't know.

Megan said...

Funnily enough, the original answer to that last question is, "I think it ought not to be attempted." However I disagree with this statement and I think this is a wonderful idea!

For the Wading event, perhaps the commentary could be provided by the contestants instead of the usual commenters. *That* would be funny.

Oh and to further Shannon's idea, library book sorting! Like you know, after they're returned, and they're on a cart. You have to use the dewey decimal system even though not everyone uses that anymore.

Misty of Chincoteague (it feels spelled wrong)
Misty and her colt *or foal...*
Akbar the Donkey (It's not that but I can't remember)
Black Gold
Horses and Ponies (or something)
King of the Wind

Yeah I would lose that one.

I wish the picture was better so I could see him, but that's pretty cool!

Janeite42 said...

Yes, the Shakespeare plays idea is good, and the library book return/sort race. Can't you just see them racing down the lane pushing a cart piled with books? And I have to confess I got the idea for the Newbery award winners from Sporcle.

Megan, you win the gold medal for coming up with the next sentence! And I bet with a little training you could get those M Henry books down.

My words are "42" and "spypic". Those seem sort of portentous, somehow.